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Statute of Limitations for Criminal Charges

December 15th, 2015 at 9:49 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Criminal charges need to be brought as soon as possible in order to expedite justice and to ensure that critical components of the crime, such as evidence and witnesses’ recollections of the events that took place, are fresh and viable. But that is not to say that some charges cannot be brought against an accused many months or years after the actual crime took place. As such, one question remains: is there any limit on how long after a crime that charges can be brought?

Most criminal charges are subject to a statute of limitations, which is a window of opportunity in which charges for a crime must be brought against the accused or else they will be time barred, at which point a court will no longer hear the case against the accused. A statute of limitations begins either after the crime is committed or a victim learns that a crime has been committed against him or her. The statute of limitations forces the state’s prosecutors to move forward on a criminal case in a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations for Common Crimes in Illinois

A number of crimes in Illinois carry a statute of limitations, but not all do. The length or duration of a statute of limitations for a particular crime generally correspond to how serious the crime is, with less serious offenses having short statutes of limitations, while serious crimes may carry no statute of limitations at all. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/3-5 lays out the statute of limitations for criminal offenses.

  • Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a misdemeanor charge, charges for the crimes of assault, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property, and theft can all carry an 18-month statute of limitations;
  • Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a felony charge, charges for the crimes of assault, burglary, disorderly conduct, kidnapping, rape (depending on the facts of the case), receiving stolen property, robbery, and theft all carry a three-year statute of limitations; and
  • Arson, rape (depending on the facts of the case), involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, forgery and  and murder and attempted murder carry no statute of limitations, and charges for these crimes can be brought at any time after the crime occurred.

What Happens If the Statute of Limitations for a Crime Has Expired?

When a statute of limitations for a criminal charge has expired, the criminal action is time-barred and if charges for the crime are brought against the defendant, the charges will be dismissed. Defendants must raise this defense under 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(5) by filing a motion for dismissal of the action with the court so that the court is aware that the case is defective and has gone stale.

Let Us Help You Today

Accusations that you committed a crime a long time ago can be troubling, but criminal charges that are too old and are beyond the statute of limitations cannot be tolerated or allowed to move forward. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at once for assistance with your case. Our law firm is prepared to help you throughout each step of the legal process.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K3-5

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050K2-619.htm

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Written by Staff Writer

December 15th, 2015 at 9:49 am

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